Morales v. Chapdelaine
The District Court does not possess the power to appoint a magistrate judge to serve as an independent investigator of a habeas petitioner's claim that he was falsely identified. The plaintiff prisoner, Alex Morales, alleged that he was innocent and was incorrectly identified as the perpetrator. Morales filed a habeas petition and requested that the District Court appoint an independent investigator, Judge Holly Fitzsimmons, to investigate his claims that he is innocent. 28 United States Code §2254(d) does not permit the District Court to appoint an independent investigator. Although the plaintiff apparently claimed that the U.S. Supreme Court permitted the appointment of an independent investigator in a 1970 decision, Goldberg v. Kelly, the Goldberg decision concerned public assistance benefits. It did not apply in the context of a habeas petition. The District Court denied the plaintiff's request to appoint a magistrate judge as an independent investigator, to pursue his claims that he is innocent and was falsely identified.